Inflation inches up to 1.6% in May on broad-based rise in prices

SINGAPORE'S inflation rose slightly last month but kept near a three-year low, as a fall in car costs helped dampen price rises in all other major categories.

Consumer prices rose 1.6 per cent in May over a year ago, a tad higher than April's 1.5 per cent, which had been the lowest reading since February 2010.

Transport costs fell by 2.8 per cent in May from a year earlier, keeping overall inflation low.

But the prices of most other goods and services increased last month, the Department of Statistics said on Monday.

Healthcare costs were up 4.2 per cent, housing expenses rose 3.3 per cent, and the cost of education and stationery increased 2.9 per cent.

Food prices also rose more quickly, climbing 2 per cent in May over a year ago, compared with the 1.8 per cent rise in April.

As a result, core inflation - which excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport - rose to 1.7 per cent in May from 1.4 per cent in April.

This was mainly due to steeper increases in services fees and food costs, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Trade and Ministry Industry on Wednesday.